Jock McIlwain is passionate about encouraging young people to study science and engineering.
Now retired, the 87 year old one-time engineer and major developer on the Gold Coast has already donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Griffith University.
In his latest act of generosity Jock presented a cheque for $25,000 to Pro Vice Chancellor of SEET, Professor Debra Henly.
A former member of the Gold Coast City Council, Jock was one of the first people to push for the establishment of a local university.
“I was the alderman in 1969 who got up in Council and said we need a university on the Gold Coast and the wheels started turning from there on,” Jock said.
Jock’s latest donation will go towards the ‘Science on the Go’ Project, which encourages school students to set their sights on studying maths and science at Griffith.
Professor Debra Henly said the project is all about engaging young children and teenagers and really trying to excite them about studying science, engineering and technology.
“It shows them that it’s fun, that it’s interesting, that there are good jobs at the end of it, and that there is a demand for people with these skills sets,” Professor Henly said.
This ‘Science on the Go’ outreach program has been running for a number of years, but as part of the New Griffith a major expansion of science teaching is under way on the Gold Coast campus.
In 2014 a comprehensive Bachelor of Science degree will be introduced; a first for the region.
“For the first time students on the Gold Coast have had the opportunity to study a fully-fledged science degree without having to go up the road to Brisbane,” Professor Henly said.
“We see this as being fundamental to the future of the Gold Coast in producing graduates who have a skills set that this economy really needs.”
Jock is hoping his enthusiasm is infectious and others will step up.. as he has.
“I’m really hoping that as a result of my donation to the university, more business people will be encouraged to do the same thing.”
“If they’ve a got a desire to help the youth of the Gold Coast achieve and aspire then I hope they will do it. ”
Jock McIlwain has also generously agreed to be the Patron of the Griffith University Science and Engineering Challenge in August.